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Explaining “this” in JavaScript.

When learning JavaScript you might have come across the this keyword, you might have thought it wasn’t that important to know, but understanding how the this keyword works will definitely make you a better JavaScript developer. So let's get started! 🚀

So let's start by explaining what the this keyword means in JavaScript. The this keyword refers to the object it belongs to, with the this keyword we can get access to properties and methods from the object it belongs to. Here’s an example:

In the example above we’ve defined an object called person with two properties (name & age) and a method called greet which logs the content to the console.

See how we’re able to access the name & age properties on the person object, this is possible because the this keyword refers to the object it belongs to, so we can access pretty much any property or method on any particular object.

What if we use “this” outside the object?

If we were to use the this keyword outside an object then the this keyword would refer to the global object ([object Window]). The window object represents the browser's window, this means all the global JavaScript objects, functions, and variables automatically become members of the window object.

The “this” in arrow functions?

As part of ES6, arrow functions were introduced as a new way of defining functions. Here’s an example of one:

Don’t worry if you don’t know anything about arrow functions yet, I’ll discuss more about them in a different blog. We know that the this keyword refers to the object it belongs to, with arrow functions the this keyword works quite differently. In arrow functions, they don’t have their own bindings to the this keyword. Here’s an example of what happens when we try to use the this keyword in arrow functions:

When we try to access the name and age properties we get undefined instead, in this scenario, it’s better to use regular function expressions.

To learn more about the this keyword I really recommend you check out the MDN Web Docs for further explanation. Learn more about “this”

As always thank you for reading! 😊

JavaScript Enthusiast | Backend Developer (TypeScript & Go)

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